top uses for prepared pesto

(source)

Pesto is one of those staples that everyone should always have on-hand. It comes in handy for so many things and adds such fresh flavor to everything it meets!

While homemade pesto is usually better, I rely on prepared pesto from the store a lot. Here are some of the ways I use it:

  • Tossed with pasta (tortellini is my absolute favorite, but any pasta is good)
  • Spread on a tortilla, topped with a little cheese, rolled up and microwaved for 30 seconds
  • As a sauce for pizza
  • Thin with a bit of olive oil and serve with roasted vegetables
  • As a sandwich spread
  • On meat, chicken or fish
  • Blend into white bean dip
  • As a crostini topping with parmesan or goat cheese
  • Mixed into shredded chicken with a touch of mayo (recipe)
  • Tossed with a grain, topped with goat cheese crumbles

What is your favorite way to use pesto? 

restaurant: fresheast

I need to start this post by saying that I’m absolutely in love with the food here in LA.

I know, we’ve only been here a month.

I haven’t even spent a week at our new place, and yet, so quickly I’ve fallen in love with hills, the endless streets with amazing restaurants, and sun every day. (Ok, today was actually cloudy, but still 70 degrees.)

Yesterday I had lunch at fresheast with Juliana, who handles their PR, and now I’ve got another great restaurant to add into the rotation. Not as though I really need another one, but this one is in our hood. :)  I’m not sure if I should even admit this, but as I write this post, I’m here again.

Yes, you read that right, for the second time today. We’ve been trying to find a place that has wifi (still no internet at home) and something to drink. And I’m not talking about coffee. So when Juliana mentioned that they have wifi and happy hour and I mentioned that to the Taster – it was a done deal. Along with our wine we had an avocado roll (avocado, sun dried tomatoes, rolled in egg roll paper and pan fried) that we wouldn’t order again. In the Tasters words, “I’m just not sure the flavors work.”

What a food snob, sounds like a Top Chef judge! ;) But back to lunch…

Fresheast is a fast casual, asian fusion restaurant featuring cuisines from China, India, Thailand, Japan and Korea. They are committed to health and sustainability and believe that food can be flavorful and healthy (just like me!) – they also source produce locally, use natural meats and seafood, recycled packaging, utensils and create their amazing food without msg, refined sugars, butter, nuts or artificial sweeteners.

Which is all amazing. But for me, a restaurant has to deliver good food for me to come back. Thankfully, fresheast can deliver on all of their claims. Their food is flavorful, fresh and exciting and I love that you can customize any of the bowls, noodles or sandwiches depending on what meat or protein you want and what it is served on.

I started with the fresheast juice, made from orange, lemon, apple, cucumber, spinach, kale and red beets. The color was a beautiful deep magenta and although I’ve always been hesitant to juice beets, and kale for that matter, it didn’t taste “earthy” at all. :)

Then the food started coming.

First was the spicy garlic noodles. Super flavorful and loaded with vegetables like zucchini, carrots and broccoli, I was a fan, although was feeling a little bad after my paleo day yesterday. Oops. The Taster was an even bigger fan and I scored major brownie points when I brought leftovers for him. These noodles just might be the reason he was so eager to come back…

Next was the 5 spice salmon, the seasoning on this was spot-on and the salmon was crisp, just how I like it. I loved the beautiful presentation and large portions of all of the components – protein, whole grain and vegetable.

My absolute favorite of the day though, was the Mongolian Beef Bowl, served with brown rice. The beef was so flavorful, and served up with lots of veggies and brown rice. I don’t think I could ask for a more ideal plate of food. Juliana was sweet enough to let me take those leftovers home too and I had to use all of my will-power to not devour all of the meat morsels. Quite honestly, my will-power wasn’t that strong.

Thank you fresheast for an amazing meal.

I still can’t believe I live in this city…

fresheast

8951 Santa Monica Blvd

West Hollywood, CA 90069

310.859.9989

www.fresheast.com

labor day weekend eats

Please tell me that summer isn’t over!

If it must come to an end, I can’t think of a better way to enjoy the long weekend than celebrating with friends; sitting by the pool and sipping cocktails. Oh and of course, eating amazing foods.

 

Labor Day Weekend Eats

Snacks & Starters: 

Main: 

Sides: 

Cocktails/Desserts: 

Add your favorite links/ideas below!

chicken, artichoke & mushroom lasagna

Some good friends just had their second baby boy and we couldn’t wait to go visit them! I had to try to give them a few weeks to settle in before pleading to come and visit. “We’ll bring dinner!” always sweetens the deal. ;)

Is it obvious that I’m a tad anxious to be a Mom? (I am.)

How precious is he?!

After much thought, I decided to make a lasagna because I could make it ahead of time and comfort foods are still in full force here in chilly and snowy Minneapolis. I also made them some bacon & broccoli quiche and spicy pork for them to eat and/or freeze for a different time. (I’ve heard that the weeks after having a baby are a tad crazy and wanted to do whatever I could to help!)

The Taster was especially happy that it made an additional 8×8 pan – I’m fairly certain all of his meals when I’m gone this week will contain some sort of pasta. (Except for that quiche.)

Chicken, Artichoke & Mushroom Lasagna

  • 16 oz lasagna noodles
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 15 oz part skim ricotta cheese
  • 16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1.5 – 25 oz large jars of marinara

 

Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water as directed.

Pre-heat oven to 375°.

Heat olive oil in large pan. Add mushrooms and saute for about 3-4 minutes, until lightly browned.

Combine chicken, mushrooms, artichokes, egg, ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan and 1 cup mozzarella cheese in large bowl.

Spread 1/2 cup marinara on bottom of pan. Layer noodles, chicken mixture and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Repeat until all ingredients are gone. (I used a 9×13 pan and an 8×8 pan)

Cover with foil and bake for about 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes until cheese is golden brown.